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A Deep Dive into the World of Dive Watches

Dive watches are one of the most popular types of watches out there . . . and for good reason. They are durable, rugged, reliable and long-lasting. They are held to such a high standard because if they fail to work when you need them most, the consequences can be catastrophic. To learn more, let’s dive a little deeper into the world of dive watches.

Bremont Supermarine s500
Bremont Supermarine S500

What is a dive watch? Dive watches, also called diver’s or diving watches, are, among other features, water-resistant up to a minimum of 100 meters. A true diving watch meets the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 6425 standards regarding readability, bezel functionality, resistance and more. Essentially, a diver’s watch is one that is engineered specifically to withstand the pressure, elements and great water depths associated with scuba diving.

Luminox Sea Dive Chronograph
Luminox Sea Dive Chronograph

What to look for in a dive watch
Because of their intended purpose, there are some important features that a diving watch must have:

  • Reliable gasket system – The small rubber rings that protect your timepiece from water, salt and other elements is called a gasket. A high quality diver’s watch features a strong gasket system to offer the ultimate protection.
  • Unidirectional bezel – A proper dive bezel, the ring around the watch face, is unidirectional in order to accurately monitor dive time or the time you’ve been underwater. Having a unidirectional bezel ensures that it can’t be accidentally moved in the wrong direction, which would make monitoring inaccurate.
  • Legibility – Naturally, it’s darker underwater than it is on land so a diver’s watch must remain legible. The numbers, watch hands and markers should all be clearly visible in low light conditions.
  • Resistance – Not only will your watch need to be water-resistant up to 100 meters (or more depending on your personal requirements), you’ll also want to research its resistance in regards to other elements such as salt, pressure and temperature.
  • Strap – The strap should be water-resistant and should be made of a material that can adequately endure great lengths of time in saltwater without eroding. Some straps come with an extendable option, so that the watch can be worn for everyday use but can also easily fit over a diving suit when used underwater. Most diver’s watches come with a strap made of rubber, stainless steel, silicone or fabric.
  • Power reserve indicator – In order to accurately alert you when your battery-operated watch is running out of power during underwater activities, it should have a power reserve indicator, in the form of a digital display or a jump of the second hand.
Ball Engineer Master II Diver
Ball Engineer Master II Diver

When it comes down to it, your dive watch should match whatever specifications you personally desire. These will depend on if you plan to even dive with the watch at all, your diving ability, how often you plan to dive, etc. For example, a watch water-resistant up to 100 meters (the ISO 6425 standard) isn’t necessarily suitable for deep dives. Think carefully about how you’ll use your watch and choose one that will last for years to come.

Our favorite dive watches
If you are just beginning your search, here are some of our favorite collections featuring diver’s watches:

Are you currently in the market for a dive watch? What do you find to be the most important features?

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